Tensions rise, sparks fly as Greece, Croatia go their separate ways

October 10, 2011

“Friday should have been a night of triumph for Greece. A 2-0 win over Croatia moved it back to the top of its Euro 2012 qualifying group, and a draw away to Georgia on Tuesday will guarantee the top spot in the group, while Slaven Bilic’s Croatian side has to go through a playoff. But the events in the stand that caused the match to be stopped for seven minutes cast a long shadow. None of Greece’s 11 national sports papers led with the hooliganism, but these were serious outbreaks, not something to be brushed under the carpet of a satisfactory result.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Goals galore in South American World Cup qualifiers

October 10, 2011

“It’s the same teams, three months apart, coming up with a totally different spectacle. Back in July the Copa America in Argentina was always enthralling, but its fascination was frequently the grim, attritional kind, with defences holding the upper hand. Now in October, the first round of South America’s marathon World Cup qualification campaign produced four open games – at times absurdly so – and 15 goals. Much of this can be explained by the differing demands of tournament and league football.” BBC – Tim Vickery

The White Elephants of Italy

October 10, 2011

“An economic downturn, the calciopoli scandal, pockets of violence and racism have all scarred Italian football in recent years, but some truly dreadful planning hasn’t helped either.” In Bed With Maradona